A targeted awareness campaign by the NSW Resources Regulator has sought to engage 13,000 workers in the importance of collision avoidance for heavy mining equipment.
A 15-day period during May 2021 saw 41 Regulator inspectors present to more than 300 work crews at 37 sites across New South Wales.
The Regulator’s chief Inspector Garvin Burns said the cause for the campaign was an ongoing issue with incidents involving heavy machinery.
“Our investigation into incidents involving heavy mining equipment has identified that fundamental practices such as positive communication, complying with traffic rules, driving to conditions, or basic hazard awareness are repeatedly being identified as a contributing factor for potential workplace incidents,” Burns said.
Burns emphasised the fine line between near misses and catastrophic incidents can be crossed at any moment if improper practices occur.
“Near miss incidents involving vehicles have the potential to seriously injure or kill, due to the sheer size of the equipment typically involved,” Burns said.
“While this campaign was about delivering a specific message to mine workers, it is also timely to remind mine operators that they should also review their safety management systems to ensure there are effective verification processes in place to monitor and ensure that controls are being effectively implemented.”
A majority of the workforce who received the presentations and workshops were from open-cut coal mines, while the rest were responsible for surface and underground metalliferous mines.
Burns reported that the response to the campaign had good.
“The feedback from mine managers, workers and inspectors on the campaign was overwhelmingly positive and we hope that workers will take the learnings and maintain a state of heightened awareness when operating on or near heavy mining equipment,” Burns said.